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Angela's Ashes Audiobook

Angela's Ashes

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: People have called this a sad book. I imagine those are people who read it with their eyes instead of hearing Frank McCourt narrate his story. Those who listen hear the ecstasy in McCourt's exclamations over a piece of bread and an egg and the humor with which he dealt with hardships. Listeners are enveloped by McCourt's brogue, occasional songs, and his joyful spirit. —Beth Anderson

Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 1997

National Book Critics Circle, Biography/Autobiography, 1997

Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, movingly read in his own voice, bears all the marks of a classic. Born in Depression-era Brooklyn to Irish immigrant parents, Frank was later raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. His mother, Angela, had no money to feed her children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely worked, and when he did, he drank his wages. Angela's Ashes is the story of how Frank endured - wearing shoes repaired with tires, begging for a pig's head for Christmas dinner, and searching the pubs for his father - a tale he relates with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.

Listen to Frank McCourt talk about this book on C-SPAN's Booknotes (7/11/97).

©1997 Frank McCourt, All Rights Reserved; (P)1997 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved, Audioworks is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division Simon & Schuster Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Frank McCourt is a marvelous writer whose words are made all the better when he reads them aloud..." (Bookpage)
"...one of the best I've heard in years." (The Boston Globe)
"...so good it deserves a sequel" (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (4879 )
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4.7 (3458 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Barna Elkridge, MD, United States 09-23-08
    Barna Elkridge, MD, United States 09-23-08
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    "Terrific"

    I avoided this book when it won all of its awards because I was somewhat aware of the contents and it just seemed depressing to me. I read Teacher Man and 'Tis by the author and then a book club friend told me this was in audio and read by the author, which I consider a real plus. This is an incredible story of a family in Ireland, abandoned by the father, and their story of survival. McCourt's memory of his childhood is riveting. You will love this book

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Krykie 10-07-04
    Krykie 10-07-04 Member Since 2016
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    "A Great Audiobook!"

    The book was good, the audiobook is great! The book is read by the author -- which always makes books better, but with the Irish brogue from the author, it makes it a GEM. This is my all-time favorite audiobook, and I'm not even Irish. It's a great story, a great piece of history, a great autobiography, a great audio story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    URIEL MESHOULAM 04-04-04

    Usually happy customer

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    "Best author-read book!"

    Excellent book, read by author in a wonderful Irish accent!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Farrell California, USA 07-27-14
    C. Farrell California, USA 07-27-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Couldn't finish it"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I expected to like this book, since it was a Pulitzer Prize winner, and it was fine, but after awhile it just got repetitious. Both the story -- sad, poverty-infused anecdote after sad, poverty-infused anecdote -- and the sometimes sing-song narration of the author became just more and more of the same.

    I did appreciate the wonderful Irish humor that buoyed the narrative, keeping it just above the surface of total despair. As an American descended from Irish immigrants, I found myself thinking about my deceased mother, who undoubtedly would have loved the book, and imagining the lives of my Irish ancestors.


    Has Angela's Ashes turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, I generally enjoy memoirs.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    As the author, he both added and detracted from the book. Since it's a memoir, he lent an authenticity to the story that would have been absent had the book been read by someone else. It was enjoyable to hear his Irish accent ... and yet at times, his delivery became somewhat repetitious (same tone and pitch). In those instances, I think an actor would have done a better job.


    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arielle 04-08-13
    Arielle 04-08-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Gross, Slow, and Tragic"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I'm unsure. I didn't particularly care for this book. The first half is really boring, and if I had read this instead of listening to it, I might not have stuck with it. However, I was interested enough to listen to the sequels.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I've already listened to the follow-ups "'Tis" and "Teacher Man" is what I'm listening to right now. They are both by and narrated by Frank McCourt.


    What does Frank McCourt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His story is narrated in his own words with his wonderful accent. It's told in a thoughtful way. The biggest thing that is a unique experience is the singing. In books when the lyrics are in the book, it's always awkward to read it without knowing the tune. Listening to the book give the reader an opportunity to hear the songs.


    What character would you cut from Angela's Ashes?

    There is no main character I would cut. Maybe a few of the side characters that add nothing but pages and minutes to the story.


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh Taylorsville, UT, USA 08-21-06
    Josh Taylorsville, UT, USA 08-21-06 Member Since 2012
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    "Dissapointing"

    I selected this book because I thought I was going to be moved by human courage and strength to overcome great odds. This book had great potential to move the reader, however about half way through and clear up until the end, the book shifted and the author got caught up in the "excitement" of "wanking" (i.e., masturbation). This felt like such a disservice to the reader.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 04-01-14
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 04-01-14 Member Since 2014

    I have a rather eclectic love of books. I know what I like and I tend not to be a severe critic. If I enjoyed it, it gets 4 or 5 stars.

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    "I almost returned this book..."

    When I first started listening to this book, I really didn't like it. I had a very hard time following the accent of the narrator. I went to return it and then reread all the reviews, realizing that I needed to give it more time. Like watching a Shakespeare play, the language grows on you and you can follow it easier as you get used to it.

    I had a range of emotions while reading this book. I have ancestors who immigrated from Ireland to America and I had to rethink everything I thought I knew about them. I had assumed they came from the vibrant green and cozy Ireland where everyone was spectacularly nice and neighborly. After reading Frank McCourt's autobiography, I realize that my thinking was probably inaccurate. I never realized how stern the Irish were and how miserable and poor so many were. I had heard the stories of the drinking but assumed it was a stereotype; I never realized the damage it did to families. I also didn't understand the impact of the Catholic church on the Irish people and how the families seemed to be motivated by guilt from the church.

    This book can be amusing at times, but for the most part it is very serious and very sobering. It was a learning experience for me and I highly recommend that everyone who is interested in the roots of the people who helped build America, read this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Barnes 09-30-13
    N. Barnes 09-30-13 Member Since 2011
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    "One of the best audiobooks you'll find"

    As I said for the second volume of Frank McCourt's memoir, 'Tis, this book is incredibly moving, blatantly honest, and delightful to the last drop. Not only do you get the joy of hearing an author read his own book, but this particular author has the gift of the voice as well as of the pen, and adds even more emotion to his narration.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark W Matthews PhD Fort Worth, Texas 09-23-12
    Mark W Matthews PhD Fort Worth, Texas 09-23-12 Member Since 2009

    -mwm

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "an amazing life read by the man who lived it!"
    What made the experience of listening to Angela's Ashes the most enjoyable?

    First, with Frank McCourt reading his memoir, there is an added air of authenticity to his memories and stories. Second, the way he creates the local denizens of his neighborhoods into excellent characters by interacting with them and not over-describing them is refreshing. It is their relationship with "Frankie" that brings the others in this first-person narrative alive, not just his descriptions of them. Finally, his ability to express his internal thoughts, feelings, angst, and frequent consternation is wonderful and developmentally appropriate for the different ages he traverses. When he is five he sounds like he is five; when he is 15 he sounds like he is 15.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character is Frankie because he is a lad who had no breaks and continues to plod along and succeed.


    What about Frank McCourt’s performance did you like?

    First, I love his accent. Second, his cadence and intonation provide excellent pacing for the story. Finally, his tone of voice was able to impart wit, humor, irritation, frustration, and irony I am not sure would have been as clearly evident with the written word alone.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When his young sister dies in New York... very sad.


    Any additional comments?

    I have enjoyed this work so much I have listened to it several times.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    menary kitchen 09-14-12 Member Since 2015
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    "sounds sad but the reader didnt make it so"
    What made the experience of listening to Angela's Ashes the most enjoyable?

    the reader did an excellent job. i wouldve taken it as a sad story but somehow he made it fun and very interesting


    What did you like best about this story?

    the versions of current words that were used. i had to look up terms on the internet


    What about Frank McCourt’s performance did you like?

    the dialect help depict the story


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    i wouldnt have minded


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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